There is nothing quite like the Grahamstown Arts Festival - I just love its wackiness and the eccentricity that it brings out in people who descend on Grahamstown in droves for 10 days of the year. We all are a little weird but the polite rules of society dictate that we keep our weirdness under control in public places - some do this better than others - the rest I can detect with a glance! I have a kind of radar that picks up the oddies amongst us as they wave their 'freak flags' and I am drawn to the silly and bizarre.
The festival is the perfect place to let your weirdness out and the most sensible of people can be seen wearing festival head wear, grungy shoes and layers of hippy garments - tie-dyed shirts, Indian cloths, clinking beads topped by velvet capes or a crochet poncho! They were all there yesterday....and that was just the guys!Our annual pilgrimage began with pies and coffee at the Nnaga which we enjoyed in the sunny car park - where a young man was very taken with us. Us four married ladies were very flattered until we realised it was the car that was attracting his attention Mark's Land Rover Evoke is pretty special!!
On arrival we descended on the Village Green but not before we were waved into a parking space by our very enthusiastic parking attendant who introduced himself as Johnny-Be-Good and told us to mind the ditch...and the bull that was grazing a little way to the right!
After a quick shop and a few random, unnecessary purchases - we headed to our fist show. "Best of Fest" with David Newton. This highly talented local comedian had us in stitches and invited us to interact with him while he was on stage using Twitter - This we did and he honoured Helen's request to do the James Bond meets Abba movie. Hilarious! Our next show was only 30 mins later - This is what the Fest is as well - jogging from one venue to another as we try to fit in as much as possible in one day....and muttering that we are DEFINITELY coming for three days next year. We have been saying that for the last decade!!! We made it to the Hangar but had to risk our lives and wobble our way up to the top of the temporary scaffolding seating. It was full to capacity! Hope is the Saddest is a black comedy about three people whose lives intersect in a chance meeting. It is an Australian production and both begins and ends with a violent traffic accident that draws the same three people into each other’s eccentric worlds. It is a play about death, delusion and Dolly (Parton). It was Festino Fayre at its best - Funny, Weird, Clever and well acted by three young performers. Hope, was superbly endearing. The childlike, eternally optimistic young woman who took all her life lessons from Dolly Parton’s lyrics was not afraid to go to extreme measures when fate made true love land/collapse at her feet.
Theo, the object of her desire, threw up a few hurdles for Hope, but there was no way that she was going to let Theo’s boyfriend deter her, or let the fact that he was “a bit gay” stand in the way of her path to true love. Their blossoming friendship was innocently affectionate and helped along with the effects of a little weed; Theo soon began to wonder if he was better off with a woman. The third angle in this isosceles triangle was the neurotic, Marion. In a surreal twist of supposed, real and imagined events, Marion’s journey saw her kill a cyclist, bury her car in the backyard, ignite a romance between strangers, seduce Jesus and finally bear the second coming of Christ. As far fetched as it sounds, it translated on stage as very entertaining!
Back to the car for some refreshments we were just in time to see another performance - the car guard being chased by the bull into the ditch! We gulped our champagne down and headed back to the Green to see what else we could find and some food. Our purchases included one beaded Strelitzia, and a posy of beaded proteas, a push along 'coon' on a bicycle, a handsome skein of beads, a pendant gift for a special little girl, handmade soap, biltong, peanut brittle, Spring Rolls and a pretty scarf.
Traipsing back to the car we saw a giant - running down Somerset Street - a little late for his/her performance perhaps!
We joined the crush of traffic leaving the City of Angels and hit the freeway to be greeted by a beautiful new moon in a lilac sky. another festival over and next year we are DEFINITELY staying for three days!!!